Oh motivation, why are you so damn fleeting?!
When the conference ends, the race is over, the group workout is finished and/or your phone or computer battery is dead, do you ever feel like your personal cheering section has abandoned you? When real life sets in with all of the every day obligations, commitments and responsibilities that adults need to master every day, finding motivation to reach a goal is not an easy task.
Keeping consistent motivation has always been difficult for me. Earlier this year, I came up with my own #optimistflip philosophy about working hard to take the every day negatives and attempting to turn them into positives. To ensure a departure from the “glass half empty” view of the world, I went as far as to use the lyric from Bastille song “Pompeii” of “How am I going to be an optimist about this?” as my 2014 mantra. Living in LA, you listen to the radio a lot so it wasn’t unusual to hear my mantra 10 times a day at least. Lately, however, the mantra lyrics aren’t the one’s that have hit home. Instead it’s been:
But if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
Nothing changed at all?
And if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
You’ve been here before?
The answers were yes and yes. Being consistently inconsistent was not going to get me to my #14in2014 goals. The vortex of fear and paralysis is a strong one. Finding ways to motivate oneself are not easy but I’m giving these 5 mini motivators a shot because I don’t want it to be December 31st and have it feel like “nothing changed at all”:
1. Feed The A.D.D.
I have both professional and fitness A.D.D. It’s easy to get distracted from work tasks by going down the social media rabbit hole and from fitness by letting the bed (or the NetFlix) win sometimes. Instead of fighting the A.D.D., I’m feeding it. I’m planning breaks in my workdays (even if it means writing down what I need to do hour by hour some days). Fitness-wise, I’m filling my runs with Galloway intervals and trying classes that are tailor made for my short attention span like the Cycle and Shred (25 minutes of Cycling and 25 minutes of Megaformer) at Studio Metamorphosis in Pasadena and the Interval Class (Treadmill and Weights AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) at Sweat Garage in West Hollywood.
I’m getting small things done consistently. The fitness is definitely more successful with this tactic than the professional but it’s a start.
2. Listen To Your Body
Which voice is louder in your head, the negative or the positive? Getting sleep, eating healthy and hearing what your body tells you isn’t easy but it’s imperative. Working through lunch, getting to bed late or pushing too hard in a workout may feel like a victory but the bottom line is that the body suffers. Especially if you have a chronically injured body.
Twice last week, I had to back off from my workout because my back was aching. Pushing harder was what my mind wanted to do but my body was talking loud and clear. I knew if I didn’t listen, I’d be benched for a lot longer than a day or two and the repercussions would be in both the fitness and professional realms.
3. Reward Yourself
I hate the expression “Don’t reward yourself with food, you’re not a dog”. IMHO, if a green tea latte, a prepared salad or even a fabulous piece of chocolate can make you feel good about your accomplishments, go for it! Small rewards that help reinforce daily healthy behaviors are powerful. Food nourishes more than just our bodies sometimes.
I’m rewarding myself weekly: I bought a new pair of running shoes (way overdue) last week and a Duran Duran tank top this week. Tangible reminders of positive progress can’t be bad.
4. Check In With Your Motivators
If you’re lucky, you have a constant support system or friends you can call when you feel the motivation start to wane. If you’re not so lucky, we all have social media motivators that are only a click away. There’s a reason that memes are so popular, it’s because they resonate with people! There are so many people on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and throughout the blogosphere who can right the day’s wrongs with their words, images, stories, recipes, workout photos, motivational sayings or movie quotes who have no idea how much impact they have on others. Some of my favorite motivators include – Alan@Sweating_It_Off on Instagram, Kimberly@ManifestYourself, Allie@VitaTrainForLife, Elizabeth@FlourishInProgress, Danielle@TRexRunner, Ali@AliOnTheRun, Melissa@MelissaRunningIt and Chris@WhatIRunInto but there are so many!
5. Chunk Your Goals
The Big Fat Hairy Goal is scary and often intimidating. Having more than one of these BFHG’s at a time makes someone like me freeze into a panic. Just identifying a few mini goals or chunking out a path to meet a larger goal has reduced some of the Big Fat Hairiness for now. A few small victories can start a stream of positive reinforcement for the long haul.
Professionally, the goals are the more intimidating. This may need to be the week to write those suckers down baby step by baby step. Summer break (and clearing out 75 boxes from the NYC apartment) is hectic but those goals still need to be clear even if they don’t get checked off the list as quickly as I’d like.
In fitness, despite my achy back and my lousy half marathon history, the 13.1 taunts me like a most delicious Vosges Black Pearl Truffle (if you have never had one, I can’t say enough good things) so I’m working toward getting the strength and stamina to get me closer. I did a 4 mile relay race last week, the Awesome 80’s 5K coming up and of course, there’s the 2nd Annual Duran Duran Appreciation Day 10K in the very near future. Building strength and stamina are of the utmost importance right now to ensure long-term fitness.
Here’s hoping that the BFHG will soon seem small and crushable!
What or who keeps you motivated?